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The Transition FAQ

How is The Transition Different From Other Groups, Movements, & Non-For-Profits With Similar Beliefs & Goals?

A:

A key distinction is that we do not see us attaining our goals as being an "us vs. them" endeavour. We are not asking our Supporters or Contributors to "pick a team". One of our main goals is to get as many:

that have values aligned with ours and get them working together both figuratively and literally on the same page. That is why we have created the The Action Plan to get everyone operating off of the same basic knowledge and with the same level of training under their belt in order to work more seamlessly together for a brighter future. The Action Plan is series of practical steps, creating a map to get to our united end goal from the here and now we all live in. Every individual starts off with the same first four phases, but then as their vision becomes focused they are directed on the path they determine is right for them and The Transition helps them every step of the way.

We believe in helping people "prosper where they are planted". This means engaging directly with the public on a grassroots level to raise awareness about the issues they care about and that concern their daily lives. This encourages citizens to create a vision of a better future. When people create their local BUD groups it acts as a catalyst - inspiring others to create their own answers and vision - empowering them in the process. When we each do our small part we contribute to large-scale global impact.

The aim is to bring information and resources together in one place, our website works as a central hub to do this. Groups and organizations already working toward making Communities more sustainable and resilient, leverage those resources where possible, and coordinate when the need arises using our website as their command center. Our site also aids in facilitating the creation of BUD groups, events/programsIntentional Communities and Co-op businesses so our movement can grow and be more effective in reaching our goals.

We work to get rid of redundancy that we see in many initiatives and movements all over the world and to help people be more effective in the work they are doing.  We help those who join us on this journey to construct real solutions to the problems they see most pressing in their lives by providing the:

  • Support
  • Space
  • Resources

to do so via our collective knowledge and common heritage of the Earth's resources.

Our Supporters and Contributors find that we  help fill the “gaps” where critical needs were once not being met by other organizations - we make this happen by listening to what their pain points are on a regular basis and taking action to remedy that pain as fast as we possibly can.

Another important aspect of The Transition that differentiates it from other efforts is in it’s ultimate goal of creating a Global Egalitarian System. We feel by reaching this goal we will help eradicate a majority of the major issues that cause the most conflict today in the world we live in.

Lastly, we know the “inner-transition” (aka Heart & Soul) component is a key part of the transition to a better world becoming a reality. Unless people are so committed that not only are they willing to change the world, but they are first and foremost willing to change themselves will we be able to accomplish this grand feat.  We of course, can support each other through these changes as we progress and move forward. is a vital part of Community resilience. 

 

Sources: Transition Primer: A Guide to Becoming a Transition Town, US Version 

Contributors: Transition US

Recommended Books: Transition Primer: A Guide to Becoming a Transition Town, US Version 

What are the requirements for becoming a Transition Team Member?

The Transition Team are individuals who have stepped up to take on the role of building and maintaining The Transition website and doing any necessary work to help the organization as a whole grow and thrive.

A:

Individuals who want to join The Transition Team must:

What Does The Transition Consider to Be Basic Needs?

 

 

A:

The Transition considers the Basic Needs of our Contributors (and all people) to be Relationships, Shelter, Food, Water, and Health & Wellness.

What is The Transition's view on the Concept of Power?

A:

For this answer we again rely on our forebears before us: "Power is one of the issues that social change Communities face- particularly those with a commitment to nonviolence. Too often nonviolence has been confused with being "nice," gentle, or wishy-washy, rather than forceful and aggressive. To effect change we need to go about the systematic building of power. That means making allies-not only with people like ourselves, but with all kinds of people. It means living Communities or networks of friends and allies become our bases for going powerfully into the world, not just safe havens where we can remain warm, close- and scared. Power is not built by focusing too much energy inward to the maintenance of the group of the individuals in it. The life of the group and the happiness of the people we call allies are crucial but cannot be our preoccupation.

Many of us [in society at large] find power frightening. Too often it is used unjustly or rigidly- sometimes against us. We have seldom seen power wielded well. So, the prospect of us having power and using it to change the world scares us. But without becoming powerful, movements for change will fail. Therefore one task facing social change Communities is to encourage their members to face their feelings about power. Then we can go about building a broad base, which can become one measure of success.

We hope that people will use this [website] for ideas and encouragement, and find some jewels of wisdom from folks who have been trying to make social change Communities work. Most of all, we hope your lives will be full of the joy and power that comes from taking responsibility for the world."

 

Sources: Building Social Change Communities

Contributors: Peter Woodrow, Susanne Terry, The Training/Action Affinity Group of Movement for a New Society

Recommended Books:  Building Social Change Communities 

 

When someone is Talking About "-isms" to What Are They Referring?

A:

Many Contributors and Supporters of The Transition are committed to working against the oppressive structures of our society such as sexism, classism, racism, and adultism (the unnecessary and oppressive wielding of power over children by adults). In order to do that work effectively we have to examine our own attitudes and the ways power is used in our lives. Discussions develop regarding these "-isms" often while in dialogue talking about major barriers that hinder us from reaching the social change we are all seeking. Questions are asked like "Are men assuming power over women, adults over children, middle and upper class people over people from working class backgrounds?" BUDs provide a place to identify the specific mechanisms of oppression in intimate detail and then work together to eliminate them. Once we understand how power works in our own lives we can discover ways to change the same mechanisms as they operate in the larger society.To create a just, humane, and democratic society effectively we must eradicate any evidence of sexism, classism, racism, ageism, or any other in-grained in-humanism we find in OURSELVES and others. Working for social change means systematically dismantling these interlocking systems of oppression.

 

 

Sources: Building Social Change Communities

Contributors: Peter Woodrow, Susanne Terry, The Training/Action Affinity Group of Movement for a New Society

Recommended Books:  Building Social Change Communities

Why Should People Encourage the Formation of This Type of Social Change Network?

Why not let individuals and groups continue to pursue their projects as they have been?

A:

Some of the advantages of acting for change in the context of a network like ours follows:

  • Provides a broader outlook, helps us see our personal efforts or those of our group in relation to a larger picture and other efforts being made.
  • Counters the feelings that we are in the struggle alone against powerful opposition. Our combined struggles amount to something greater than the sum of the individual efforts.
  • Is a way we can give and receive mutual assistance, particularly in times of crisis (what we call "crunch!" times), but also on a regular basis.
  • Is a context where we can improve our work for revolutionary change through directed self-study, and mutual appreciation coupled with constructive criticism that pushes us to continually evaluate what we are doing in terms of the task before us.
  • Is a base for sharing skills and information.
  • Provides a structure through which we can develop common strategies for change in our area/region that will enhance all of our work.
  • Can become allied with larger networks- a step that will be necessary if we are to effect the broad changes that are required, most of which will necessitate widespread and coordinated action against powerful forces and institutions in our society. We can't make it alone or in isolation.
  • Is a place we can stop our work to have fun, celebrate life in the present moment, make good connections with others.

Some people may ask how a network is different from a political party. Most parties are run in a centralist, bureaucratic fashion-people gain power and authority by some special characteristic (charisma, seniority) and much of the energy of the party goes into legislative and/or electoral politics. In addition, parties do not encourage local autonomy or the ability of groups to follow their own best judgement. Even the most radical parties often depend on the guidance and directives of experts. Furthermore, most traditional parties do not embrace or nurture the whole person- they are interested in the individual only as a political unit.

 

 

Sources: Building Social Change Communities

Contributors: Peter Woodrow, The Training/Action Affinity Group of Movement for a New Society

Recommended Books:  Building Social Change Communities

Why Was it Necessary for The Transition to Be Created?

What are the advantages of building an organization from scratch instead of just building a network of groups that are pulled together?

A:
  1. It enables us to have a more cohesive organization with common philosophy, organizational style, and strategy for change.
  2. Many of us are looking for more involvement than is possible in a network of groups with widely varying styles. Some people are looking for an intentional community where personal growth and politics are seen as important parts of a comprehensive movement for change. Many traditional organizations (not all) have a uni-dimensional approach to change, usually emphasizing the political work.
  3. It is necessary in a close network to have some agreement as to decision-making process. If some groups in a network insist on voting while others insist on a consensus approach, it will be hard to work together effectively unless decisions are avoided all together.
  4. Some groups have hierarchical structure (presidents, chair-people, etc.) while others operate collectively. In a loose alliance this is not a problem, but if you are trying to co-exist in a close organization problems will erupt.

 

 

 

Sources: Building Social Change Communities

Contributors: Peter Woodrow, The Training/Action Affinity Group of Movement for a New Society

Recommended Books:  Building Social Change Communities

Why Does The Transition Believe a Global Egalitarian System Can Work?

 

 

A:

Right now many people say Egalitarianism can't work. However, there are already pre-existing Communities that already operate using this system and have stood the test of time for many decades now. It is true members of these Communities have left and went back to "mainstream" living while others left to join other Communities. The main reason for this is due to a lack of shared values and this would be remedied easily with the existence of more Communities. Nature thrives on diversity and Intentional communities must be diverse as well if we are to thrive as a species.

We believe the top two reasons for this approach are ecological sustainability and social responsibility. Most people now realize that we live on a planet with the necessary resources to feed, clothe, and shelter our entire population but greed and rationing have made these resources so unavailable that over 21,000 CHILDREN DIE EVERY DAY because it is not profitable to provide the Necessities they need to survive. This pattern of withholding what is needed, and the hoarding of possessions, is in our opinion both irrational and counterproductive to our survival yet it continues on the national, city, community, and even the family level throughout most "civilized" cultures. We don’t think it needs to be this way.  By having working Transitional Communities we create proof that a global society using Egalitarianism is within reach. Remember people once said, "Man will never fly", since the Wright brothers we do not hear that anymore. The biggest barrier to an amiable world is that the present system makes people feel powerless. This is why local projects put the power back into small groups of people. Our goal, as this expansion happens and accelerates, is to lead this movement with everyone who wants to help as a global cooperative working together for the benefit of the entire human organism so we can collectively achieve the necessary knowledge base, consciousness, and number of solutions creating models that create additional solution models necessary to make our entire planet sustainable and improve living here for everyone and everything. The Transition makes sense - the solution is the same size as the problem. We look at the whole system not just one issue because we are facing a systems failure not a single problem failure. Care to joins us? Become a Contributor Now!

 

Sources: Transition Primer: A Guide to Becoming a Transition Town, US Version 

Contributors: Transition US

Recommended Books: Transition Primer: A Guide to Becoming a Transition Town, US Version 

Why Does The Transition Find Majority Rule and Competition Ineffective?

A:

Generally speaking, when a group votes using majority rule or Parliamentary Procedure, a competitive dynamic is created within the group because it is being asked to choose between two (or more) possibilities. It is just as acceptable to attack and diminish another's point of view as it is to promote and endorse your own ideas. Often voting occurs before one side reveals anything about itself, but spends time solely attacking the opponent! In this adversarial environment, one's ideas are owned and often defended in the face of improvements.

 

Sources: On Conflict & Consensus

Contributors: Amy Rothstein, C.T. Butler

Recommended Books: On Conflict & Consensus

Why Does The Transition Advocate Shared Housing Arrangements?

Today many people associate the idea of Intentional community only with the hippie communes of the 1970s, but that flurry of collectivism was just the most recent of a series of waves of interest in experimental common living arrangements that goes back centuries. The history of the earlier waves is told in many books, some of which you can find in our Online Store. These waves often coincide with periods in which society as a whole becomes uninspiring or unbearable. Economic depressions spawn Utopian experiments, as do times of cultural decline. In retrospect, the 1970s fit that description well: a generation of young people, disillusioned and alienated by a pointless costly war in Southeast Asia and surrounded by a culture of soulless consumerism, understandably struck out on their own for other destinations, founding thousands of communes and Communities they went- some of them still in existence, such as The Farm in Tennessee and Twin Oaks in Virginia.

Any competent analyst of social trends would have to conclude that we are today entering a period in which the potential for economic and cultural decline far outstrips that of the 1970s. Today, the debt-import model is itself unraveling, and the threat is not just to America's economic leadership, but to the basis of the entire global industrial system. We are well into the new century and collapse appears increasingly likely due to climate chaos, water scarcity, and a growing list of other environmental problems. In order to establish a different path we will need to not just a few new policies, but the invention of a whole new culture- a culture not of growth, but of material modesty; one not of militarism, but of cooperation and negotiation. How and where will the needed attitudes and practices be pioneered, if not in small experimental Communities started by Contributors of our site?

Moreover, if hard times lie ahead, what would make more sense than to band together with people of like mind so as to ride out the storm together, sharing resources and companionship along the way? In short this might be the most propitious moment in history to join an Intentional Community.

A:

In these difficult times of higher housing costs and lower earnings, sharing housing makes sense. According to the 2009 U.S. Census, more than a quarter of the households in the United States are single occupancy, for a total of 31.5 million Americans living alone. Some 6.6 million Americans live in households with people who aren't related to them.

This trend is growing, as single householders of all ages realize that with home-mates they can make ends meet. 

People share housing for many reasons some of them are:

  • Recently divorced
  • Trying to save money to invest in starting a business
  • Reducing expenses to pay down student loan debt
  • Elders who want to stay in their home and not move to a retirement home

 

The most natural reason for someone to join or encourage the formation of Community should simply be to be more free to be able to be more responsible and have more sovereignty over their own life. Imagine the type of life you could have if you cut your costs on housing and utilities by half or a third. How would that effect the quality of your life?

People who choose to share housing discover other unintended benefits.

  • Some people feel younger with young home-mates living with them
  • The ability to have deep meaningful conversations and get to know people well
  • Companionship at meal times

 

Sources: Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community,Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates

Contributors: Annamarie PluharDiana Leafe Christian, Richard Heinberg

Recommended Reading:  Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community, Sharing Housing: A Guide for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates

Why Should I "Listen" to What The Transition Has to Say?

A:

If you believe in The Transition's

...then we have more than a few things in common!

We all want the same things and therefore should be working collaboratively not competitively. The Transition makes no claim to have all the answers, but by building on the wisdom of the past and unlocking the creative genius, skills and determination in our virtual and grassroots Communities, we know the solutions can emerge!

Our organization and our website is growing at the speed of knowledge and experience. We integrate the wisdom of our Contributors daily to our site that we receive via our Suggestion Box, Report Portal, and direct feedback given through our Contact Us page. The Transition Team who helped found The Transition and maintains the website consults with experts in their fields that have decades of experience in various topics ranging from Intentional Community living to grassroots organizing. we aren't the smartest people in the room, but we are probably friends with the people that are, and work diligently to seek out individuals who can help us improve and serve you better!

The Transition as a movement represents one of the most promising ways of engaging people and Communities to take the far-reaching actions that are required to mitigate these foreseen shocks. Furthermore, these re-localization efforts are designed to result in a life that is more fulfilling, more socially connected and more equitable than the one we have today. The Transition model is based on a loose set of real world principles and practices that have been built up over time through experimentation and observation of Communities as they drive forward to reduce carbon emissions and build Community resilience.

Underpinning the model is a recognition of the following:

• The challenges of our time require urgent action

• Adaptation to a world with less access to cheap fossil fuels is inevitable

• It is better to plan and be prepared, than be taken by surprise

• Industrial society has lost the resilience to be able to cope with shocks to its systems

• We have to act together and we have to act NOW

• We must negotiate our way through these challenges using all our skill, ingenuity and intelligence

• Using our creativity and cooperation to unleash the collective genius within our local Communities will lead to a more abundant, connected and healthier future for all.

The Transition believes that is up to us each BUD to step into a leadership position on this situation. Together we can make a difference.

 

Sources: Transition Primer: A Guide to Becoming a Transition Town, US Version 

Contributors: Transition US

Recommended Books: Transition Primer: A Guide to Becoming a Transition Town, US Version 

Why Should an Individual Join The Transition?

Everyone has a story and every story has a conflict. Too often that conflict is simply a life lived out of sync with one’s values or dreams. You may find that the time you have allotted to career, family, recreation, service, and relaxation is out of balance and unfulfilling. The world says that it is "just the way it is". We at The Transition disagree. 

Getting involved with The Transition can provide you opportunity to have the means, the time, and the flexibility to pursue your passions and to more fully enjoy the company of those you love and care about.  It can be the way by which you overcome a setback or finally get beyond “just making ends meet.” It can restore or improve confidence in both yourself and your abilities and it will provide immense satisfaction as you help others to find such confidence in themselves. As Contributor you will become part of a off-line and online Community of driven individuals who are writing their own stories. They are enjoying their Contributions they are making to the world. They are building new relationships with positive and forward thinking people. They are becoming more confident, empowered individuals. They are making significant positive changes in their lives that are impacting not just themselves, but others as well. And you can, too. 

Like the heroes and heroines of our favourite stories, we believe you can have your own happy ending. The Transition invites and encourages you to “Join the Movement,” to take back control of your time and your life.  It will require work, but the best victories are those that were hard won. You will not be alone in your efforts; The Transition Inter-Community network will be there to assist you and cheer you on in your journey!   

We would love for you to join us Become a Contributor today!

 

This website is for Cultural Creatives. It's for people who want to know more about folks who: 

  • live off grid
  • grow their own food
  • create their own biodiesel fuel
  • who share meals with friends and neighbours
  • raise their children cooperatively with others
  • work at jobs they find fulfilling
  • create their own home-grown entertainment

and find themselves thriving not merely surviving.

It's also for people who might consider joining an Intentional community or ecovillage sometime in the future- and who'd like some guidance in the meantime about how to go about it.

Lastly, it's for active "community seekers" - people engaged in the process of seeking an ecovillage or another kind of sustainable Intentional Community who would like some tips and pointers on how to make the journey far easier.

A:

With The Transition you can:

  • Develop your personal, strategic Action plan with the help of our knowledge and staff.
  • Use our Community knowledge and specialized tools (such as our Movie Vault, & Community Brain) to further your goals.
  • Leverage our assets and expertise to develop your passion project faster.
  • Partner with us and other committed Contributors to address critical issues in your area, across your country and around the world.

The Transition succeeds when our Contributors regenerate local assets, in tandem with innovating, networking, collaborating, and replicating proven strategies they find on our website. The Transition's programming and events often create a  fulfilling and inspiring experience for all of those who participate in them. It all starts off when a small collection of motivated individuals within a Community who decide to  come together and form a BUD with a shared concern: How can our group respond to the challenges and opportunities of our time? Once a BUD is formed they then continue on with the Action Plan based on the Type of BUD they have determined they are. When you join The Transition you know that we are all working together to achieve the same end goal.

 

Sources:  Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community, Transition Primer: A Guide to Becoming a Transition Town, US Version 

Contributors: Diana Leafe Christian, Transition US

Recommended Books: Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community, Transition Primer: A Guide to Becoming a Transition Town, US Version 

 

Why Would an Individual Want to Live in an Intentional Community (IC) or Eco-Village?

A:

 

  1. It's More Environmentally Sound. You can live on the planet with a smaller ecological footprint.
  2. It's Safer. You can raise a family or grow older in a wholesome, safe environment. 
  3. It's Healthier. Medical researchers find that people live healthier lives if they have many social connections, particularly as they get older.
  4. It's Cheaper. Shared resources and economies of scale reduce the cost of living.
  5. It's More Satisfying. You can experience a sense of connection and support with like-minded friends and colleagues.
  6. You'll Grow as a Person. You will undoubtedly become more self-aware, and possibly more tolerant and compassionate. You'll learn better communication skills, and will become better at participating  in meetings. You can learn new skills in other realms. And you'll probably develop more self-reliance.
  7. It's More Fun. You can experience the child's delight of sharing life's pleasures with friends.

 

Sources:  Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community

Contributors: Diana Leafe Christian

Recommended Books: Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community